The BlackBerry reins king on top of the corporate PDA hill, however, Research in Motion clearly wants to get into the consumer BlackBerry market as well. The question that I have is just how big is the consumer BlackBerry market?
The overwhelming majority of BlackBerry users have their devices hooked up to a corporate BlackBerry Enterprise Server, many of whom had their BlackBerry devices provided for them by their company, however, there seems to be a growing number of BlackBerry owners who buy their own devices to hook up to their company’s BES as well as stand alone BlackBerry users that use the BlackBerry Internet Service only. Just at the end of last year RIM changed the BlackBerry home page assigning half of the real estate to to the individual BlackBerry consumer.
Although RIM sells a lot of BlackBerry devices when you compare it to the PDA market, the 3 million or so U.S. BlackBerry owners are just rounding error compared to the well over 100 million mobile phone users out there. When you start to look at the world and not just the U.S., that number is a bit closer to 1 billion mobile phone users. One would be foolish to think that RIM could turn all of those users in to BlackBerry users, however, if RIM could convert just 1 tenth of 1 percent of the world mobile phone market they would increase there size by over 200%.
Don’t get me wrong. There is a heck of a lot more corporate business for Research in Motion to go after as many analyst think that that the corporate wireless email market will will grow from 8 million to over 80 million users by 2008, however, I think that a candybar style BlackBerry with a digital camera, MP3 player, and better multimedia capability such as streaming video would sell like crazy here in the U.S.